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...wave of the future... /
…wave of the future…
Nonantum Wave” photo by flickr user mjsawyer. Used by permission (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0).

I get the sense that we’ve moved into a new phase in discussions of open access. There seems to be a consensus that open access is an inevitability. We’re hearing this not only from the usual suspects in academia but from publishers, policy-makers, and other interested parties. I’ve started collecting pertinent quotes. The voices remarking on the inevitability of open access range from congressional representatives sponsoring the pro-OA FRPAA bill (Representative Lofgren) to the sponsors of the anti-OA RWA bill (Representatives Issa and Maloney), from open-access publishers (Sutton of Co-Action) to the oldest of guard subscription publishers (Campbell of Nature). Herewith, a selection. Pointers to other examples would be greatly appreciated.

“I agree which is why I am a cosponsor of the bill [FRPAAHR4004], but I think even if the bill does not pass, this [subscription journal] model is dead. It is just a question of how long the patient is going to be on life support.”

— Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), March 29, 2012

“As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future.”

— Darryl Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-sponsors of H.R. 3699 (“The Research Works Act”), February 27, 2012

“I realise this move to open access presents a challenge and opportunity for your industry, as you have historically received funding by charging for access to a publication. Nevertheless that funding model is surely going to have to change even beyond the welcome transition to open access and hybrid journals that’s already underway. To try to preserve the old model is the wrong battle to fight.”

David Willetts (MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science), May 2, 2012

“[A] change in the delivery of scientific content and in the business models for delivering scholarly communication was inevitable from the moment journals moved online, even if much of this change is yet to come.”

— Caroline Sutton (Publisher, Co-Action Publishing), December 2011

“My personal belief is that that’s what’s going to happen in the long run.”

Philip Campbell (Editor-in-chief, Nature), June 8, 2012

“In the longer term, the future lies with open access publishing,” said Finch at the launch of her report on Monday. “The UK should recognise this change, should embrace it and should find ways of managing it in a measured way.”

Janet Finch (Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester; Chair, Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings), June 18, 2012

“Open access is here to stay, and has the support of our key partners.”

Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, July 25, 2011

 (Hat tip to Peter Suber for pointers to a couple of these quotes.)

5 Responses to “The inevitability of open access”

  1. Stevan Harnad Says:


    If we want OA, now, while we’re still compos mentis, we better stop mumbling about Gold and start mandating Green.

    (That’s certainly not what the authors of many of these pronouncements are on about, least of all those of Dame Janet; they’re musing about the future of publishing, not the future of research.)

  2. David Prosser Says:

    Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission is a strong advocate for open access. She has made a number of speeches on OA. Here’s an example:

    “Open access is a legal and technical reality today. The question is no longer ‘if’ we should have open access. The question is about ‘how’ we should develop it further and promote it.”


  3. Belated thoughts on the Finch Report on achieving Open Access « Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week #AcademicSpring Says:

    […] skepticsm about open access, pretty much everyone is now accepting that it’s inevitable. (See this compilation of quotes from US congressmen, UK government ministers, publishers, editors and professors.) The […]

  4. Wambogo Omole Says:

    Totally agree David. The just released Finch report which I blogged here – – points in this direction even though it is already attracting some controversy. Open Access advocates should rise up and openly debate these issues. Just for the record, personally, I am for full Open Access publishing.

  5. Thad McIlroy – Future Of Publishing » Higher Education and Educational Publishing in 2012 Says:

    […] June: The inevitability of open access “There seems to be a consensus that open access is an inevitability. We’re hearing this not only from the usual suspects in academia but from publishers, policy-makers, and other interested parties.” […]